Thursday, January 09, 2014

CDC Reporting – 1 out of 4 Teens Meet Fitness Guidelines – “In my Day”…….

Children at play - circa 1960 - image from Sharonssunlitememories blog

The CDC is reporting that only one (1) in four (4) teens meet the CDC fitness guidelines and these are partial findings, with results not yet weighed for treadmill tests – obesity also played a factor – however, the fact that the survey (done by parents) suggests that an hour of physical activity – per week, was accomplished is mind-boggling. (Minneapolis Star Tribune)

What this reports is suggesting is that with each generation, we get heavier and are more inclined to sit on the sidelines rather than engage in physical activity. Recalling that most baby boomers were considered “soft” by their parent’s standards, those who are now grandparents, are recalling childhoods that involved a higher level of activity than their children and children’s children have enjoyed.

Technology is a factor, with entertainment at one’s fingertips; it is far easier to enjoy leisure time without moving a muscle. Crime against children might be included – parents hesitating to send one’s offspring’s out into the wilds (without supervision) is more likely to occur.

The snow was deeper, there were fewer buses, and we walked six miles backwards up steep hills to get to school.  

There was more reading of books, and more imagination used, as there were fewer “gadgets” available to help one think! Organized sports were there, of course, but it was more likely that there were unorganized games as well, played for the fun of it, without any supervision and without the threat of litigation that hangs over each household should a game of “dodge ball” knock out someone’s front tooth!

Rusty nails and tetanus shots were common, as were leaving the house in the wee hours of the morning and returning home at dark in the summer. Parents sent children out of the house, without the fear of abduction in summer. In winter, children were shoveling, sledding, and otherwise engaged in snowball fights and building forts (as soon as the homework was done).

It was, looking back, somewhat idyllic and out of reach for today’s youth.

We all worked, from the time we were old enough to want to buy candy at the local mart, we were picking vegetables, had paper routes, did chores, babysat, or raked lawns - we were entrepreneurs who never thought of child labor as a bad thing. There was no minimum wage in the farmer’s field, yet, we could not wait until he needed a hand. As one got older, one might have worked as a cashier at a local store, and one had to count without the benefit of a computerized register.

Conveniences have bred a lack of enthusiasm for exercise of the mind and body for our youth, and to be honest for those who are, at any age, glued to the TV, or the laptop, or the Ipad.

Therefore, these results are not surprising, only wistfully sad. The few that do aspire to be able to count without the aid of a computer, or to climb mountains, ski slopes, and compete and play as well, are somewhat elite, compared to the masses who – sit. It is an inequality that we, as nation, have brought upon ourselves.

Are there solutions, most likely, however, it is also unlikely that the siren that is the convenience and the bogeymen that are very real, will continue to keep us enslaved and a little bit slower and heavier with each passing generation.

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